It’s frightening when your normally healthy dog suddenly takes ill.
My collie had overcome a rough start filled with a number of shelter, rescue, and foster stays with a bout of troublesome demodex mixed in. Probably used for breeding, she was between 1.5 to 3 years old when she landed in her forever home with me. Over the years, she exhibited the usual age-related problems like leaking and creaking and twice had serious emergency clinic visits that turned out just fine. Otherwise, she was a pretty healthy and active girl.
My heart sank the day she came to a dead stop on our usual walk. Her painful limping into Broadway Pet Hospital had her veterinarian, Dr. Arnold Gutlaizer, suspecting the worst—bone cancer. X-rays revealed a gimpy elbow with numerous fragmented bone spurs. A real mess. Amputation was an option, but she was old, so we resisted.
At Gutlaizer’s suggestion, we tried laser therapy and different pain medicine, and she managed OK. I also consulted with Gary Richter, D.V.M., who had recently opened Holistic Veterinary Care, on whether acupuncture could help, and we tried that, too, adding herbs to her health care protocol as well. It was a relief that the veterinarians were supportive of using every tool in their Eastern and Western arsenals to help my sweet girl. The treatments left her calm, relaxed, and brighter, and she eagerly ambled and sniffed her way though the park we would visit on our way home.
It’s our job to keep our dogs sound, and the theme of this month’s issue is health and wellness. Bay Woof contributors have some solid advice for improving your dog’s mental and physical health and offer a few insights into laser therapy, homeopathic remedies, orthotics, and wheelchairs that may help you make more informed decisions about ways to keep your dog comfortable.